Graham Sharpe, Chairman of Judges and co-founder of the Award, said:
“This has proved to be one of the most competitive renewals in the lengthy history of the Award, with 17 worthy titles vying for a place on the shortlist. We believe the resulting magnificent seven set an extraordinarily high standard, bringing a depth of insight and fresh perspective to areas of sport and sporting history so often misunderstood, misinterpreted, underestimated or overlooked in the headline-led, here today, gone tomorrow media culture. We believe readers will not only enjoy but also learn from these game-changing books as we have.
“At 30 years old, we’re in the unique position to look back over three decades of publishing and to see how some things have changed dramatically, and others have not - the notably small number of female authors being published in this field, for instance, across a range of sports. Whilst the breadth and scope of sports writing has undoubtedly improved, and its reception and recognition by the literary world is much changed, there are still some areas where there is significant work to be done.”
Tiger Woods by Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian is arguably the most serious attempt ever made to get behind golf’s great enigma, taking ameticulously investigative approach to his fall from grace.
With the rigour that marks the best American journalistic traditions, the authors managed to circumvent the legal barricades surrounding their obsessively secretive subject. Woods’s father famously predicted his son would change history and be a more influential black sportsman than Arthur Ashe or Muhammad Ali. With his career chronicled and his flaws laid bare, it is clear that Woods is a great golfer, but just a golfer.
Benedict and Keteyian provide extensive details of Tiger’s famous nastiness, which was helpful in dispatching golf foes and deployed against anyone he no longer required. And there are painstaking descriptions of his escapades with Las Vegas hostesses and waffle house waitresses. The authors are sports investigative journalists, not golf experts, and purists may object to their clinical treatment of the game as something that is incidental to their examination.